Guest Post – The Future of Work

There has been a lot of rubbish pontificated on over the last few weeks on the future of work.  Oh horrors! It is going to change. We will have to pay everyone to do nothing, or to only work part time. There is a rising shortage of jobs for those with no capabilities. Only those with good skills will get work.

Those of us with any age on us at all know that the nature of work has always changed. When I was young, married women did not work in the paid workforce but worked in the home to keep their husband in the lap of luxury with high quality care and attention. Our day was driven by the standard routine of the home. Then we had to go back into the workforce, which required some retraining. Later on we had to learn how to use technology and we have had to continually upskill.

In my life I have had to retrain at least seven times in entirely new careers.  Initially I had virtually no education to build on, and I am still learning new skills long after I am supposed to have retired. It is exciting and challenging and never boring.   

So, what about the not so bright? Will there be no jobs for them? For one thing most of them are not so dim as they are portrayed. For example, I am sure most of them are much more skilled in the advanced use of technology than I am! Key here is the standard of our education. Children must not get left behind. They may need a change of skills over the years and so, as well as learning to read write and add up, they need more skills around self discipline and other soft skills such as reasoning, risk management, a sense of the world around them and adaptability to help ensure there will always be work for them.

Personal and professional development must become the norm for everyone. But, that has to be of a high quality. To be frank, many of the professional development programmes are lightweight and not applicable to the person’s current or future needs. They are just a box to tick. The current mechanism for selecting training programmes and paying for this training is unhelpful. There appear to be  limited use of KPIs that will generate evidence of fitness for purpose of professional development in New Zealand.

Some years ago on a visit to Singapore I was talking with my taxi driver about his future in work, and he explained to me that he and all his friends attended education programmes during the weekends so they could move on to better jobs. He paid his own way and did it in his own time. He was extremely dedicated to improving his own life.

So what does all this mean?

We must demand of our politicians, education providers and trainers the best quality in education and training for the world ahead of us. Currently, our education is not meeting those needs, and I am saying that as part of the education industry. We must have the best, and not waste people’s time and energy with useless paper wars. We need a restructure, as being proposed for CYFS, to ensure we have student-centred education from day one.  We also need all of us to step up to the plate and take responsibility for ourselves. A true partnership between students, educators and the Government will ensure that we do not get left behind the rest of the world.

Let us have the best education – and that requires a critical look at our standards, methods and funding models.


Frances Denz MNZM

Frances has been instrumental in helping entrrpeneurs establish more than 4000 businesses since 1986. She is an authority on business start-ups and regional economic development, and is a keynote speaker at conferences internationally. Frances is the co-founder of Stellaris Ltd and specialises in the small business and government sectors. In 2013 Frances was honoured by the Queen with Membership of the Order of New Zealand (MNZM) for services to business.

As a Maori woman of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Tainui descent, Frances has worked with many Maori organisations to establish expertise in self-employment. Frances has special interests in the health and horticulture industries. She was  the founding chair of the Women’s Loan Fund.

Frances is the author of Hope and RehabilitationAble to do Business and Women at the Top. She is passionate about encouraging small businesses to establish good governance and management in order to develop into very successful businesses.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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